Friday, March 24, 2006

School Bond Issue Survey - Again

There is a move afoot here in Ridgecrest to get a new school bond issue on the ballot this fall. Last month I received a phone call asking me to take part in a survey. I agreed. I was then asked a whole series of questions geared towards getting me to say that I would vote for the school bond issue. The questionaire started out with the simple question asking if I would vote for a bond issue to help improve the public schools in town. When I said no I was asked a whole series of questions in the vein of "Do you think proper facilites are important for the education of our children? Do you support the improvement of the educational environment for our kids? Do you think that textbooks need to be updated regularly?" After being asked more than a dozen of these questions and answering yes to all of them I was then asked if I would vote for a bond issue that would provide all those things for our schools. Again I said no. I was then asked what my age was, if I had kids, what political party I was registered with and if I voted for George Bush or John Kerry in the last Presidential election. I really wanted to ask what these last few questions had to do with a school bond issue survey. But since I hadn't been asked a fair question in the survey I probably wouldn't get a fair answer to a question. So I was thanked for participating and the surveyor hung up. A few weeks later there was a report out showing that an overwwhelming number of poeple in this town were in favor of a school bond issue.

Well Duh? Considering the one sided nature of the questions I would have been shocked if the results would have been any different.

Then tonight I got another phone call asking if I would be willing to participate in a one question survey about a school bond issue. Out of morbid curiosity I agreed.

I'll have to paraphrase because I couldn't possibly remember it word for word.

Following an introduction that promised that the bond issue would build new schools, add classrooms, fix air conditioners, cure cancer, provide world peace and build a spacestation on Mars (OK, I make up the last three) but there was a huge long list of things this bond issue would provide, including an oversight committee to make sure that the money was only spent on things the voters voted for. Then I was asked "If this bond issue is on the Novemeber ballot will you vote for the improvement of our schools or would you vote against a better education for our children?"

Again I said "I would vote against the bond issue." I was thanked for participating and the call ended.

So I wonder how long it will be before they announce the results of how a majority of the people interviewed just followed our lead and answered our survey exactly the way we wanted them to. I also wonder why they didn't care who I voted for this time?

Now some questions I would like them to ask are:

  • If you say you will vote no, why?
  • Do you pay property taxes?
  • Do you have kids in public schools?
  • Do you have kids in private school?
  • Do you resent having to support a failing school system and a private school.
  • Did you vote for any of the current school board members in the last election?
  • Why not?
  • Do you trust the current school board to do what is best for your kids?
  • Do you trust the current school district administrators to do what is best for your kids?
  • If the bond issue passes do you trust that the money would be spent as promised?
  • If you vote no where would you recommend that we get the money to improve our schools?
  • Do you think you could trust a school district that cannot successfully negotiate a contract with it's teachers for over 18 months?

But they didn't ask those questions. I guess they believe in the old adage "Don't ask a question that you don't want to hear the answer to."


One brief clarification - the school district and the teachers union did sign a contract last week after our teachers worked for over 18 months without one.

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